Kampala, Uganda |By Michael Wandati | Uganda suffered a nationwide power blackout on Saturday, the second time in less than a month. Neighbouring Kenya on the hand, woke up to a countrywide power outage following a fault in Kenya Power’s main supply line.
Uganda Electricity Transmission Company Limited (UETCL), which is responsible for bulk purchase and transmission of power countrywide, said: “We have lost transmission across the nation which has caused a nationwide blackout, please bear with us as we investigate the cause and work on restoration.”
The blackout in Uganda started around 6am on Saturday. On April 12, 2020, the country experienced a nationwide power cut just moments before a scheduled address by President Museveni on COVID-19. The address was delayed for about an hour.
In Kenya, the blackout started at 5:49am and affected operations in major hospitals, including the Kenyatta National Hospital (KNH) and Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA).
“We have lost power supply in the national grid due to a system disturbance which occurred on our transmission network at 5:49am this morning,” said Kenya Power in a statement.
The Ugandan power blackout was blamed on the moving islands that reportedly blocked the turbines. Both Owen Falls and Bujagali Dams were affected. In the last couple of weeks, government has been on River Nile breaking down the weed so as not to block the turbines again.
On May 8, 2020, Umeme Limited, the power distributor, had informed Ugandans of the emergence load shedding for Saturday, Sunday and Monday from 9am-5pm. It said the load shedding was to allow the “generation plants at Nalubale, Kiira, Bujagali and Isimba undergo critical water release.”
The outage in Kenyan side comes at a time the Energy ministry announced an upsurge in water levels in key hydroelectricity dams as a result of heavy rains and flooding in parts of the country.
Energy Cabinet Secretary Charles Keter on Wednesday 6th, said Masinga dam, which supports power production at the Masinga Hydroelectric Power Station had exceeded its reservoir capacity reaching a historic 1,057.9 meters above the sea level.
Power both in Uganda and Kenya has started to be restored in phases after hours of total blackout.